2 Corinthians 9:6–7 (ESV) … “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
9:6. The NIV translates the opening phrase touto de as remember this, but a variety of translations are possible. Literally, Paul said, “and this,” which may be elliptical for something like “now consider this” or “now this is important.”
The apostle began with what was probably a common agricultural proverb which taught that sowing sparingly results in a poor harvest and that generous sowing results in a plentiful harvest. It is also possible that Paul alluded to Proverbs 11:24–25; 22:9. Paul used a similar analogy in Galatians 6:7, 9. This analogy encouraged generous giving. Just as farmers should not expect a large harvest unless they sow generously, so Christians should not expect many blessings from God unless they bless others in a generous way.
9:7. In light of this wise saying, Paul encouraged the Corinthians to give. As before, he did not want them to give beyond their means, and the exact amount was a matter of conscience. The reliance on inward conviction in this matter is particularly important because Paul had no directive from God. As in every ethical choice that believers must make, there comes a point when the inward conviction of the Spirit must guide specific actions. Decisions of the heart must not violate the revelation of God, but they are necessary for practical application of the principles derived from the Old and New Testaments.
Acting according to conscience was very important in this situation. Paul wanted the Corinthians to receive God’s blessings in response to their generosity, but this would not occur if they gave reluctantly or under compulsion because God loves a cheerful giver. Once again, Paul relied on proverbial wisdom. This proverb probably circulated widely among Jewish rabbis and early Christian teachers because Paul used it freely as justification for his view. Paul believed that God’s love extends to all who are in Christ, but he had in mind here a special affection or approval that leads to significant blessings in the life of the believer.